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Survivor finalist to teach local youth confidence

Missy Payne, Season 29 "Survivor: San Juan del Sur," Second Runner Up and author of the book, "The Invisible 7: A Survivor's Guide to Awesomeness," will be the keynote speaker at NEMCC's Saturday conference, "Be Confident Out Loud."

By L.A. Story


By L.A. Story


Season 29 "Survivor" finalist Missy Payne will be the speaker at this weekend's conference, "Be Confident Out Loud."

The free conference is presented by Families First for Mississippi; Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition; Region IV Mental Health Services and Northeast Mississippi Community College and is open to kids ages 12 to 18 and their parents.

"Be Confident Out Loud" will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday in the Claude Wright Room at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

The speaker for the event will be Missy Payne, Season 29 "Survivor: San Juan del Sur" second runner up and author of the book "The Invisible 7: A Survivor's Guide to Awesomeness."

Zowee Shanks, Prevention Specialist, Region IV Prevention Services, said Payne will be teaching a curriculum based on her book "The Invisible 7."

The schedule of the day will begin with Payne's presentation in the morning, lunch from 12 to 1 p.m. and an obstacle course challenge for the students in the afternoon.

"Our goal for this conference is to teach the kids how to be confident so they can start believing in themselves. From the characteristics that Missy's doing, she's teaching them leadership," said Shanks. "We will also have college kids that will mentor these students. So, even after the conference, we're still going to be building on the 'Invisible 7' characteristics. It will be an ongoing program."

Payne, an author and motivational speaker, was a top three finalist in 2014 on the hit CBS TV show, "Survivor." She spent over 15 years as a competitive cheerleading coach and an educator at various middle schools and high schools in Dallas, Texas, and Colorado. She created Cheer 4 Your Life a 501(C)3 "that helps empower youth by providing supportive funding as needed for individual participation in various clubs and school programs and service projects.

After a piloted"two-year experiment, approximately 65 challenges throughout 4 states, and two huge events where participants were introduced to perfect strangers who had the same experience, "The Invisible 7" evolved.

Payne is an in-demand motivational speaker "and" corporate" trainer "for" companies, facilitator at" high schools, and in group workshops across the U.S." She is mother to two girls and currently resides in Dallas, Texas.

In regards to her book, Payne states in her introduction, "With the availability of lightning speed technology, there are also some forgotten human instincts "" like how to" talk" to each other. I believe that it is my duty as a Gen X-er" to model behaviors and lifestyles that our parents and grandparents passed down to us.

"And it can be accomplished through one simple philosophy:" Service to others." Life provides a virtual well of opportunity to serve others that will never run dry. I hope that by going through the exercises," and" challenges, in this workbook, readers will discover all of the amazing benefits that service to your community and the world around you can bring."

Parents are also welcome to attend the conference. Shanks said there will be workshops and activities for them, as well. The MAP team is providing lunch for the parents.

Shanks said she felt that Payne's experiences will be inspirational for the kids and something from which they will learn and grow.

"We hope that when these kids leave there, they will have learned how to be 'confident out loud.' They can be anybody that they want to be," said Shanks.

("Be Confident Out Loud" is a free event with a few slots still open, but registration is required. Register online at https://bit.ly/2AEHx7G, or contact Zowee Shanks at zowee.shanks@regionivmhs.com.)